Fulham secured a deserved point against champions Liverpool – but it should’ve been all three.
The 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage saw the return of masked-up fans, but there was no hiding the determination of their team.
Missed chances came back to haunt Fulham
Bobby Decordova-Reid scored a great goal to put his team ahead, but Ivan Cavaleiro squandered a pair of decent chances – and you can’t afford that at the top level.
The first saw him in the clear before latecomers had taken their seat, but there was an air of desperation as he let swing head down to fire straight at Alisson.
A moment’s hesitation to keep the keeper guessing, and you’re going to ask a lot more from the save, or better still watch the net bulge.
A dubious Liverpool penalty
Abou Kamara never touched the ball when he came on as a substitute at Manchester City last week.
This time his first touch off the bench again was with his elbow to concede a penalty from a Liverpool free-kick.
It was harsh.
Even given the new directive, Kamara’s arm wasn’t above his shoulder.
And you try jumping whilst keeping arms down by your side; you’ll maybe get a foot off the floor! He also had his back half-turned.
A season or two back, that wouldn’t have been given.
The official staring at the screen, Lee Mason, reviewed the possible penalty at least nine times when Fabinho caught Cavaleiro in the first half.
Man in the middle Andre Marriner saw it three times and decided it wasn’t a spot-kick.
This season, a call to the pitch side usually ends with the VAR man getting the nod.
Not this time.
Therefore, it came down to an opinion – rather than a stone-cold fact.
Liverpool complained this week they’ve been stung by use of the technology. Not in this game.
For what it’s worth, it was a penalty.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – him again
A West London Sport reader reckoned I’d been generous to the Chelsea loanee after the City game.
Not this time, friend.
RLC’s influence was at best marginal – and that’s being kind.
Yet again, he trudged off to be substituted 16 minutes before the end of normal time.
A rock and a hard place beckons for head coach Scott Parker.
Yes, Loftus-Cheek needs games to get up to full speed. But for how long does a player get selected when he doesn’t contribute?
Well done the defence
All five including, keeper Alphonse Areola, were in great form. Now, all Fulham need to do is to get Aleksandar Mitrovic back to his best at the other end, and they’ll cake walk their way to Premier League safety.
And well done Fulham fans
It sounded a heck of a lot more than 2,000 inside the Cottage. Every home tackle, pass, block, header and shot – wayward or otherwise – was greeted with cheers and applause.
An early sliding tackle by Decordova-Reid set the tone and you could see the spring in the player’s legs as he bounced away.
Players taking a knee at the start was also well received by fans.
Well done those in black and white. You always have had a sense of discern!